Classic songwriter

Joe Volk is one of the acts Portishead chose as a Ones To Watch in Issue 29 of Clash magazine, read more and download a free compilation of the tracks here.


My music is quite stark, acoustic-based

Sometimes you just can’t beat the simple approach. With this in mind Portishead present the former singer of fellow One To Watch Gonga, Joe Volk - an exceptional solo artist displaying song-writing mastery of a traditional persuasion.

Geoff Barrow simply says: “[He is] like Elliot Smith. He is just a very good songwriter. He’s got a really lovely voice. Not in a fucking James Blunt way. There’s a lot more to it. The songs don’t really start and they don’t really end.”

Joe himself says: “My music is quite stark, acoustic-based. I’d been playing a few solo gigs in Bristol, maybe around four or five and Adrian from Portishead came and heard and offered to do some recording with me.”

“He is one of those people I would be listening to anyway,” Geoff continues. “People give me stuff to listen to like Findlay Brown but I just get something from Joe. He does go on a bit though,” he laughs.

Joe counters: “I’m not into classic songwriting. I try and be interesting, not just repeating choruses and verses. I guess I’m influenced by Prog stuff and I like obscure lyrics. There are obvious influences like Jackson C. Frank and early Elliot Smith, Nick Drake. Also, bands like Boris and Earth I have listened to a lot.’

Listen to: His debut album, ‘Derwent Waters Saint’ which is already out on Invada and was produced by Adrian from Portishead.

Fact: He also writes music for documentaries and short films, his most recent commission was for a National Geographic documentary on Cryogenic Suspension, which basically means what happens to Han Solo in Star Wars when he is ‘cryogenically’ frozen in ice.


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